NASVILLE, Tenn. – Devin Caldwell homered and drove in all three runs Sunday as SIUE baseball earned its first win of the year, taking the final game of a three-game series 3-2 at Lipscomb.
"It feels pretty good," Interim Head Coach Tony Stoecklin said of his first win as the Cougars' head coach.
For the third consecutive day, the Cougars broke out on top first. Following a two-out single by Chase Green in the second inning, Caldwell connected on his first home run of the year. Caldwell hit the first pitch he saw from Lipscomb starter Will Blalock to left to make it 2-0 Cougars.
"He squared one up to left and shot it out of there in a hurry," Stoecklin said of the home run.
The Bisons tied the score with single runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
Caldwell drove in the game-winner in the eighth. His two-out single scored Matt Highland, who had walked to start the inning, to put the Cougars on top for good, 3-2. The hit came against reliever Tyler Burstrom, who suffered the loss. He allowed the run in four innings of work.
"Devin took nice at-bats in clutch situations," Stoecklin added.
Caldwell was the only player with more than a single hit for SIUE, which had just four on the day. Green and Becherer had the others.
Four Cougar pitchers combined to allow just two runs on seven hits. Brooks McDowell started and allowed only a run on four hits while striking out three in four innings of work. Jake Stauffenberg (1-0) tossed four innings of relief allowing a run on two hits. He struck out two to earn his first win of the season. It also was the first win as a Cougar for the redshirt sophomore.
"Brooks did a nice job today. He gave us an opportunity with his start," Stoecklin said. "And Jacob was outstanding. He came in and shut the door on them."
Tony Schaeffer pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn his first save of the year, and the second in his Cougar career.
The Bisons' threatened to tie the game in the final frame. Lipscomb's leadoff hitter Austin Sistrunk reached on an error to start the inning. He was pinch run for by Drew Adams who advanced to third with two outs before Schaeffer retired Lipscomb third baseman Gray Hutchinson on a fly out to right to end the game.
"(Schaeffer) never got rattled," Stoecklin said. "He competed, battled, and got the job done."
Noah Chandler and Aaron Sandoval each had two hits to lead the Bisons at the plate.
Stoecklin said he was happy with the way his team responded in the series finale.
"I'm proud of them for battling back," Stoecklin said. "I think their confidence was a little rattled after losing the first two. They showed some toughness and came out and won a close game."
The Cougars return to the road for a four-game weekend series at Arkansas-Little Rock beginning Friday.